Shop, Read, Eat Chocolate

The History of Chocolate – Henry Stubbs (late 17c)
(pic credit:

Chocolate is a perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted power. It is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits.”

 Baron Justus von Liebig

A little retail therapy might just be in order with the Autumn nights drawing in; the lure of a good book and the siren call of the confectioners’ art is all too tempting.  So,  lets finish off ‘Chocolate Week’ with a few suggestions so that you can pursue some ‘choc-lit’ therapy.   I have read some of these books, others I covet and are on my wish list, a few I have no idea and literally just did a random search on Google, so I cannot vouch for their content – so it’s rather like a blind tasting when someone steals the chocolate box ‘menu’!

  • Chocolat – Joanne Harris  The story of Vianne Rocher, who bewitches the people of a small, french village with her magical, artisan chocolate skills.  Fabulous and different from the movie, so if you haven’t-read it, then watch the movie!
  • and her sequel ‘The Lollipop Shoes‘ – I have not yet read this, it is on my wish list.  The story of Vianne and her daughter Anouk continues, but this time there is a spiteful cuckoo in the nest (or a fly in the chocolate!).

    Chestnut confection wrapper from French company Ardeche
    (photo credit:

  •  Like Water For Chocolate – Laura Esquivel.One of my favourite books and a real gem.  It was one of the first novels that I read where the heroine literally transfers all her unexpressed passion + love into her cooking with surreal, magical and surprising results.  You will never beat an egg in anger again!
  • The Chocolate Lovers ClubCarole Matthews  Check out the website too (link below), it has chocolate recipes and she recommends the following chocolate-themed books**:
  • Bread and Chocolate – Philippa Gregory, This short story anthology is a mix of contemporary and historical tales.  There’s only one story with chocolate as the mainstay – Bread and Chocolate. **

A bit of fluffier, ‘chic-choc-lit’, I’ve never heard of or read any Trisha Ashley, but Jenny Colgan is always a light, fun read .. a chocolate mousse centre-equivalent.

  • Chocolate WishesTrisha Ashley
  • The loveliest Chocolate Shop in ParisJenny Colgan

    The oldest sweet shop in Paris, 1761 – could it be the loveliest too??
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  •  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald DahlCaptivating and inventive, with mad-cap confectionery. Love it, great for kids and adults alike!

    Never mind about 1066 William the Conqueror, 1087 William the Second. Such things are not going to affect one’s life … but 1932 the Mars Bar and 1936 Maltesers and 1937 the Kit Kat – these dates are milestones in history and should be seared into the memory of every child in the country.”Roald Dahl

    A bonkers, ‘Wonka’ inspired room made of chocolate!!!
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  • Willie’s chocolate BibleWillie Harcourt-Cooze  Yes, I deliberately listed it after ‘Wonka Factory’.  This is a fantasmagorical recipe book from the Devon kitchen of this cacao maestro.  It is on my covet list, I’ve only leafed through some pages in a bookshop, but it’s immediate choclust!
  • The True History of ChocolateSophie D Coe
  • The Discovery of Chocolate – Jamie Runcie **
  • The Chocolate ConnoisseurFor everyone with a passion for chocolate – Chloe Doutre-Roussel.  

Chloe is the chocolate buyer at Fortnum + Mason and I found this book on the internet, with mixed reviews.  Still, it seems to contain lots of interesting info to dip into.

but this one with RECIPES (a lumbering title thought!) got lots of rave reviews:

The New Taste of Chocolate: a cultural and natural history of cacao, Maricel Presilla

It’s chocolate o’clock

  • The Whizz Pop Chocolate ShopKate SaundersThis is really a children’s book about a family who take over an old confectionery shop, only to find it is haunted and all kinds of mayhem, magic + chocolate chaos ensues.

A step back in time … magic awaits
The evocative interior of A lamere de famille,
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Ok, books sorted, now take a leisurely amble to choose your chocolate sin of choice.  There are many independent purveyor’s of tongue-tempting chocolatey-ness worth visiting, preferably in person for a complete olfactory and gustatory experience!

William Curley, Belgravia

William Curley shop

Demarquette, Fulham Road

Rococo, Kings Road

Rococo shop front

Coco maya, Paddington

Melt, Notting Hill

La Maison du Chocolat, Piccadilly

Artisan du Chocolat, Chelsea

Artisan du Chocolat shop – I like their sea-salt caramels and single estate bars
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Paul A Young, Islington

Montezumas – Spitalfields,

Pierre Herme Paris, Belgravia

The food halls of Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Masons, Selfridges & Harrods are also heaven sent for chocolate delectables and Fair Trade selections.  ENJOY!

Further info:

Carole Matthews  check her website for info on chocolate + books mentioned here** – a blog on books, set out in themes

A final thought (and its on ‘doctor’s orders!):

“Chocolate is a divine, celestial drink, the sweat of the stars, the vital seed, divine nectar, the drink of the gods, panacea and universal medicine.”

Geronimo Piperni

Quoted by Antonio Lavedán, Spanish army surgeon, 1796.

About The Perfume Mistress

"If the eyes are the windows to your soul, then the nose is the doorway to your imagination" The Perfume Mistress Hello, by day I am a clinical aromatherapist and tutor, with over 10 years of working with natural materials and essential oils, by night I delve into the art of botanical perfumery, reading and smelling all things olfactory. I have set up the 'Nosetrodami Club' offering scentsory talks, discussions and master-classes on all topics and themes olfactive. I also offer one and two day workshops in the art of natural perfumery, natural and organic body & skincare. My inspirations range from the mundane to the metaphysical, the hum-drum to the hyperbolic which you may see reflected in my posts.
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